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Bebop Spoken There

Ben Williams: "Jaco [Pastorius] is almost like the Charlie Parker of the bass)." - (DownBeat November 2018).

Dana Hall: "My philosophy is that everyone in the band is a drummer." - (DownBeat November 2018.)

Today Friday October 19

Afternoon

Dean Stockdale Trio - Bishop Auckland Town Hall, Market Place, Bishop Auckland DL14 7NP. Tel: 03000 269 524. 1:00pm. £5.00.

Rendezvous Jazz - Monkseaton Arms, Front Street, Monkseaton NE25 8DP. Tel: 0191 251 3928. 1:00pm. Free.

Vieux Carré Jazzmen - Golden Lion, Corbridge. 12:30pm for a 'Jazz Lunch'.

Evening

Beats & Pieces Big Band - Middlesbrough Town Hall, Albert Road, Middlesbrough TS1 2QJ. Tel: 01642 729729. 7:30pm. £10.00. Middlesbrough Jazz Weekender. Note programme and time change.

Awkward Family Portraits - Billy Bootleggers, Nelson St, Newcastle NE1 5AN. 9pm. Free.

To the best of our knowledge, details of the above events are correct but may be subject to alteration.

Monday, May 21, 2018

Alter Ego @ The Black Bull, Blaydon - May 20

Keith Robinson (alto saxophone), Niall Armstrong (tenor saxophone, flute), Dave Hignett (trumpet, flugelhorn), Andy Hawking (keyboards), Tony Abell (bass) & David Francis (drums)
(Review and top right photo by Russell/other photos courtesy of  Roly). 
Following an absence, Tony Abell returned to the fold, reuniting with his Alter Ego bandmates at the Black Bull in Blaydon. It was as though he’d never been away. The sun shone over Blaydon, just as it had done all week. The pub’s beer garden, perched high above the Tyne Valley railway,   came into its own on an evening such as this. Singer-guitarist Gareth Beddard was just wrapping up his set to an appreciative beer garden audience as the Alter Ego boys went about their sound check in the adjacent lounge.

Rooted in the hard bop idiom, Alter Ego is a no-nonsense band of seasoned musicians who know the routine; leave your ego at the door (by all means adopt your alter), set up, agree a set list, get ready to go…once you’ve got another beer in. A tasty slice of Dexter Gordon’s Cheese Cake went down well with Dave Hignett’s Stella Artois-sweetened, fleet-fingered flugelhorn indicating that we were in for a good ’un. Band members write material and first to offer something was pianist Andy Hawking; Red Blues followed by Scriabin Scraps. All very Russian, both introduced by the sextet’s budding stand up comedian, David Francis. Suffice to say our amiable drummer won’t threaten the king of one-liners – Alan Barnes – any time soon!

Niall Armstrong is another of the band’s composers. The tenor man’s Mustard Mash was added to the menu and Dave Hignett, again on flugelhorn, couldn’t resist double helpings!  A Jay Chattaway chart – Hit and Run – has been in the pad a while and it sounds better and better on each hearing. Quasimodal – read into it what you will, the hunch is it’s more modal than Victor Hugo – is another from the pen of pianist Hawking and it, along with other band compositions, stood comparison with American bop charts. The snappily titled Word Association Football Blues (comp. Niall Armstrong) served to emphasise the point closing an enjoyable first set featuring the tenor of its composer, the keyboards of Hawking and Hignett’s ever-impressive trumpet playing.
The Alter Ego horns playing the opening vamp to The Perpetrator rounded up band members and stilled the audience as the second set got underway. Keith Robinson’s Zippit featured the incisive alto sax of its composer, Undertone (comp N. Armstrong) opened with NA to the fore, and then we were treated to David Francis’ numerous attempts to pronounce the title of Tony Abell’s Llangranog Blues. What’s the problem, David?! Andy Hawking’s Bacon Sandwich didn’t pose any difficulties to DF. Niall Armstrong picked up his flute on this one as the others thought…red sauce or brown?
To close the evening, a new tune by Hawking – How Low the Sun – was sandwiched between two established numbers; Armstrong’s Dog Leap Bounce (a local landmark reference) and former Jazz Messenger Bobby Watson’s intriguing Wheel Within a Wheel. Alter Ego can be heard again at this year’s DJazz Durham City Jazz Festival (June 2). Blaydon Jazz Club’s June concert (Sunday 17th) presents two very fine guitarists, Mark Williams and Joel Byrne-McCullough. Highly recommended. 
Photos.
Russell                      

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Bebop Spoken Here -- Here, being the north-east of England -- centred in the blues heartland of Newcastle and reaching down to the Tees Delta and looking upwards to the Land of the Kilt.
Not a very original title, I know; not even an accurate one as my taste, whilst centred around the music of Bird and Diz, extends in many directions and I listen to everything from King Oliver to Chick Corea and beyond. Not forgetting the Great American Songbook the contents of which has provided the inspiration for much great jazz and quality popular singing for round about a century.
The idea of this blog is for you to share your thoughts and pass on your comments on discs, gigs, jazz - music in general. If you've been to a gig/concert or heard a CD that knocked you sideways please share your views with us. Tell us about your favourites, your memories, your dislikes.
Lance (Who wishes it to be known that he is not responsible for postings other than his own and that he's not always responsible for them.)
Contact: lanceliddle@gmail.com I look forward to hearing from you.

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